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  • DC-DC power alternatives

    My Coleman Inverter seems to have kick the bucket and power shutdown controller is acting really weird and this is after being sent in for repairs. To be exact the inverter goes directly into fault mode and the SDC relays seem to be malfunctioning causing it not to kick on the components. Ive had nothing but problems from a inverter/SDC setup. A rep. from Opus themselves have said that their Opus150 would not do the job for me so I was hoping you guys could give me some useful info and input on a DC-DC alternative.

    The problem is though that I'm running a pretty hefty setup and I'm not sure that there is a second solution. After searching every corner of the internet (almost ) I have found that there are manufactures of dc-dc power supplies with 200watts or more which is what my system currently runs on just fine. I emailed Opus Solutions and they obviously said that their power supply wouldnt do the job. For reference here is my setup:

    - AMD Sempron 2400+
    - 512 DDR
    - 40 gig 7200 rpm HD
    - micro-atx Gigabyte board w/ 6 channel onboard sound
    - notebook sized DVD/CDRW drive (in a dual usb case)
    - XM Sat receiver
    - Indash digitallww touchscreen
    - nVidia GeForce 4 series AGP card
    - 40mm case fan
    - hard drive bay cooler (3 40mm fans)
    - USB Devices
    + usb hub
    + usb mini keyboard
    + usb hand-held mouse
    + GPS receiver TripNav
    + Soundblaster Mp3+
    + Linksys wireless adapter

    I think thats everything but you get the idea of what I have. Nothing thats too uncommon for many mp3car.com members. Here are a few of the dc-dc power supplies that I have found.

    - DC2DC.com
    - Vox Technologies (170w)
    - amtrade (250w)

    These are just a few that i found. When searching google though be careful that your not looking at 24v or 48v input power supplies which there seems to be alot more of i would assume for industrial use. What do you guys think about these solutions? What else would be needed. Plain and simple would this work, is it reliable, and what do you think about some of the companies who provide these power supplies?
    Osiris Networx

    --Tuning is all about price vs performance. You've got to find your own medium.--

  • #2
    if I were you, I would either cut down the computer a little and use something like an opus, or just buy another inverter. whatever happens, inverters aren't that expensive to replace, but those DC-DC's are going to be really expensive if anything goes wrong.

    and you may or may not know, but none of the supplies on that first link (dc2dc) would be any use to you as the two 200W ones both require an external 12v DC-DC regulator (so in the end it's limited by the external regulator, not by its own power rating)
    But don't take it from me! here's a quote from a real, live newbie:
    Originally posted by Viscouse
    I am learning buttloads just by searching on this forum. I've learned 2 big things so far: 1-it's been done before, and 2-if it hasn't, there is a way to do it.
    eegeek.net

    Comment


    • #3
      They actually told you it wouldn't work? That's crazy. Unless I missed something, the opus should be perfectly sufficient. If you're not sure, measure the current draw of your system with an ammeter.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'll verify that that wouldn't work with an Opus 150, I have a very similar setup (Sempron 2600+ with Shuttle XPC) and my current draw on the +5V (tested by Opus when I sent it in) was 13A with just motherboard, processor, and memory. The Opus 150 maxes out at 10A on the +5V.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Osiris
          My Coleman Inverter seems to have kick the bucket and power shutdown controller is acting really weird and this is after being sent in for repairs. To be exact the inverter goes directly into fault mode and the SDC relays seem to be malfunctioning causing it not to kick on the components. Ive had nothing but problems from a inverter/SDC setup.
          I don't want to steal the thread, but the shutdown controller is likely acting weird as a direct result of the inverter not coming on, and therefore the PC not coming on. The SDC's PC Monitor sees that the PC doesn't come on (because of no inverter power) and trys again to turn on the PC. The Amps will also sequence because of the Anti-Thump routines. If you replace the inverter, it should work just fine.

          As for the Coleman inverter, they have 2 year warranties. Contact Coleman if you didn't buy it from us. If you bought it from us, we will just swap it out for you.

          Question: did you have a surge suppressing power strip plugged into the inverter? It may be totally unrelated, but I would like to know.

          KyferEz
          TheCarPCStore.com - Power Controllers (SDC), Inverters, Tank Circuit, GPS, OBDII, CarPCs, and more!
          PSU Wattage Calculator
          Electronics Calculators
          Copper Wire Data

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Incinorator
            I'll verify that that wouldn't work with an Opus 150, I have a very similar setup (Sempron 2600+ with Shuttle XPC) and my current draw on the +5V (tested by Opus when I sent it in) was 13A with just motherboard, processor, and memory. The Opus 150 maxes out at 10A on the +5V.
            Holy crap. Apparently I missed something alright. Where is all that current going?

            And I forgot to ask two things: Did this inverter setup work at one point or never at all?
            Did you break the ground prong off the power cord going to the computer? Most inverters behave about like that when you connect the ground prong to the psu's dc ground (which virtually every atx psu does.)

            Comment


            • #7
              Seems to be unanimous that dc-dc power supplies that arenet made by Opus arent popular here. Im sure I'm not the first one to find these other ones but the question is how come they "won't" work? Is it the cost that steers most people away or is it not an overall good idea to use it due to a combination of reasons? What exactly would these reasons be?

              "Cutting down" on my computer isnt something I want to really do plus then i would have to buy more components to lessen the power output which would cost more money. Thats not really an opton I want to explore. I would much rather make the setup I have work for me. The Inverter/SDC setup actually works great when it did work.

              Originally posted by numbers
              They actually told you it wouldn't work? That's crazy. Unless I missed something, the opus should be perfectly sufficient. If you're not sure, measure the current draw of your system with an ammeter.
              After years of pc hardware experience I beleive them when they say a 150watt power supply whether it be dc->dc or ac->dc is inadequate. In theory alone it just doesnt make sense. And if by chance it did work you would be seriously stressing the power supply and asking for a whole can of problems with the stability and reliability of your system.

              Originally posted by KyferEz
              I don't want to steal the thread, but the shutdown controller is likely acting weird as a direct result of the inverter not coming on, and therefore the PC not coming on. The SDC's PC Monitor sees that the PC doesn't come on (because of no inverter power) and trys again to turn on the PC. The Amps will also sequence because of the Anti-Thump routines. If you replace the inverter, it should work just fine.

              As for the Coleman inverter, they have 2 year warranties. Contact Coleman if you didn't buy it from us. If you bought it from us, we will just swap it out for you.

              Question: did you have a surge suppressing power strip plugged into the inverter? It may be totally unrelated, but I would like to know.

              KyferEz
              About the SDC, I hope so. This has been a long battle between several inverters before i settled on the Coleman which works great and the SDC which has been sort of a nuisance. Like I said, when the inverter/sdc setup works it actually works great. And all the small problems that different users complain about can easily be remedied. For example I had some noise in my system. Within 30 minutes i tracked down and diagnosed it to be either the inverter or the PC. I took a 8gauge wire and grounded it and touched both the inverter then the PC to find the "noise". When i touched the chassis of the PC the noise went away and that was it.

              As for the inverter, unfortunately I brought it off a guy who was selling his carputer setup so therefore no warranty on that. Depending on what i decide between dc-dc or ac-dc power supply, I will probaly just swallow the lost and get another Coleman.

              KyferEz, to answer your question, no I didnt have a surge protector connected. Why do you ask this? Would having one be beneficial? Just wondering, but what setup do you run in regards to Inverter/SDC setup? Anyone else who runs this type of setup what are you running?

              Last, am I reading this correctly? Most people seem to be against alot of the dc-dc power supply solutions that are available unless it is an Opus. What does Opus have that the other ones dont? C'mon guys I need concrete suggestions here so I can get my CarPC backup. Im loosing cool points everyday with the co-workers.
              Osiris Networx

              --Tuning is all about price vs performance. You've got to find your own medium.--

              Comment


              • #8
                The OPUS is a good solution and very popular.

                The limitation is for high power systems, the OPUS has max ratings.

                Inverters are not very expensive and can have the ratings to handle the more powerfull systems.
                TruckinMP3
                D201GLY2, DC-DC power, 3.5 inch SATA

                Yes, you should search... and Yes, It has been covered before!

                Read the FAQ!

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Osiris
                  Seems to be unanimous that dc-dc power supplies that arenet made by Opus arent popular here. Im sure I'm not the first one to find these other ones but the question is how come they "won't" work? Is it the cost that steers most people away or is it not an overall good idea to use it due to a combination of reasons? What exactly would these reasons be?
                  There are lots of other DC-DC power supplies out there, but you're right. Opus has the popular product, despite it's lower power rating.
                  The reason should be pretty obvious: FEATURES.
                  The Opus has automatic startup/shutdown, it survives engine cranking, and has battery drain protection.
                  Other DC-DC power supplies are simply a power supply. They provide ATX-spec power and that's all. If you want to purchase the additional pieces/parts to add all the functionality of the Opus, you can certainly do that.

                  After years of pc hardware experience I beleive them when they say a 150watt power supply whether it be dc->dc or ac->dc is inadequate. In theory alone it just doesnt make sense. And if by chance it did work you would be seriously stressing the power supply and asking for a whole can of problems with the stability and reliability of your system.
                  I agree that 150w is pretty low on the power scale. I also see the other side of the coin in that to do what people want in their vehicles, you don't need a high-performance gaming PC that requires a 500w power supply. So it's a trade off.


                  Last, am I reading this correctly? Most people seem to be against alot of the dc-dc power supply solutions that are available unless it is an Opus. What does Opus have that the other ones dont? C'mon guys I need concrete suggestions here so I can get my CarPC backup. Im loosing cool points everyday with the co-workers.
                  Nobody is against non-Opus, they're just pro-Opus.
                  Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
                  How about the Wiki?



                  Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DarquePervert
                    I agree that 150w is pretty low on the power scale. I also see the other side of the coin in that to do what people want in their vehicles, you don't need a high-performance gaming PC that requires a 500w power supply. So it's a trade off.
                    I agree about the gaming system comment but I wanted something in the middle of the road so that it wouldnt hang up or slow down running more cpu intense apps and overall quality would be better. OEM clock speed I beleive is 1.6ghz. That aint no where near blinding speed like I've seen many newbies question about 2.0's and 3.0's and even few members actually even put them in their car. I felt that 1.6 would be a nice medium and not too power intensive. The system even under some online PSU calculators should run on a 200 watt power supply pretty happily with some room too spare, which it was. But it started acting really weird after awhile. It would randomly freeze up and go into hibernation on its own. It got so bad at one point that it wouldnt stay on for more than 2 minutes. I took the power supply out of the case and allowed it to rest next to the case while thie carputer was running and this seemed to stabilize the system considerably. Im not sure what caused this but I would venture to guess it could be either interference due to the modded sine waves or PSU not liking to be grounded to the case.

                    In Opus' reply they said that they were coming out with "higher wattage PSU". I assume they will have a 220watt version or something similar. I've decided to go with another inverter till they come out with this and wait till the price drops a little also.

                    Now to choosing another inverter. Ive decided that Coleman is the best choice for me. When I first installed my carpc system I initially brought a Vector 350 inverter which wouldnt kick the computer on and then traded that in and got a Vector 700 watt inverter with the same results. I can get a 800/1600 watt inverter on ebay for around $50 shipped or a 400/800 watt Coleman for about $35 shipped. Is it worth the extra $15 to get the 800/1600 watt inverter or should I stick with the smaller 400/800?
                    Osiris Networx

                    --Tuning is all about price vs performance. You've got to find your own medium.--

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Osiris
                      KyferEz, to answer your question, no I didnt have a surge protector connected. Why do you ask this? Would having one be beneficial? Just wondering, but what setup do you run in regards to Inverter/SDC setup? Anyone else who runs this type of setup what are you running?
                      I was just wondering. I starting experiencing some trouble with my inverter right after installing a surge suppressor, and was curious if this was a similar situation.

                      I have the exact same setup as you did: 400/800 watt Coleman with our Power Controller v2.4. I recently had a Coleman 800/1600 that went bad. I had that one about 18 months, and had bought it off ebay.

                      As for the SDC: If you disable the PC Monitor in the Configuration Settings, it will stop trying to turn on the PC, and it will stop cycling power to the Amps because it won't know that the PC isn't coming on.

                      Edit: I would stick to the smaller 400/800. Why? Because it's much smaller and should be more than enough power unless something other than the pc is in it.

                      KyferEz
                      TheCarPCStore.com - Power Controllers (SDC), Inverters, Tank Circuit, GPS, OBDII, CarPCs, and more!
                      PSU Wattage Calculator
                      Electronics Calculators
                      Copper Wire Data

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                      • #12
                        Anything selling on DC2DC(link page) is useless for that setup.
                        Vox is just a regular 1U ATX PSU. With 60% efficiency . And you need inverter + SDC to handle the startup shutdown sequence.
                        The last one look like a typical keypower PSU. Efficiency and you also need a SDC.

                        Your best option left is the Opus 150W, but that doesn't look like it can handle your spec. You can scale down your system by using onboard stuff instead of add-on (Sound, graphic, ...)
                        Another option along with the Opus is buy/build Point Of Load (POL) for Drives and USB devices.
                        Or you can build a Sproggy if you can/want.
                        2004 Matrix XR A7N8X-VM/400 AMD XP-M 2500+, DS-ATX
                        89 Supra Turbo P3 [email protected]/Abit BE6 II, Alpine M-BUS Car2PC.
                        Y2K Accord Dell GX150
                        RoadRunner is the best FE PERIOD
                        EmoRebellion is a SCAMMER

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                        • #13
                          DraginBTV is working on a larger DC-DC PSU right now. Looks very promising to me, as he seems rather knowledgable and determined. He already designed a smaller (150W) PSU, so it seems he works rather quickly. I"d recommend taking a look at his thread and possibly getting a cheap inverter to hold you over.

                          http://www.mp3car.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=49358

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                          • #14
                            Im convinced now . I see why the Opus is the only real carPC power supply really worth looking at. I'd rather not spend $200 plus on a power supply and still need a SDC and regulator. I think that I will keep my inverter setup for the time being. Now if i can sort out all the problems than i will be fine. I have figured out how to remedy all the typical inverter setup problems but I have other issures i cant seem to tackle.
                            Osiris Networx

                            --Tuning is all about price vs performance. You've got to find your own medium.--

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Osiris
                              Im convinced now . I see why the Opus is the only real carPC power supply really worth looking at. I'd rather not spend $200 plus on a power supply and still need a SDC and regulator. I think that I will keep my inverter setup for the time being. Now if i can sort out all the problems than i will be fine. I have figured out how to remedy all the typical inverter setup problems but I have other issures i cant seem to tackle.
                              Who not swap CPUs and go with an AthlonXP Mobile instead of the Sempron? It will lower your power draw considerably, possibly putting you within the range of using the Opus 150w (or Dragon's upcoming higher-wattage unit).
                              At the very worst, you might have to do a wire mod to your CPU socket to utilize the mobile CPU.
                              It's less than $100 for any speed of the XP mobile CPU, so IMO, it's a worthy investment/upgrade.
                              Have you looked in the FAQ yet?
                              How about the Wiki?



                              Under normal circumstances, a signature would go here.

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